Superdelegates Role in the Election

Donald Trump, Senators Cruz and Rubio, and Governor Kasich have all been very clear on how they foresee the 2016 Presidential election: a race between a Republican and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The rhetoric used by these candidates to depict this race has broadcasted Clinton under a highly negative light, while also completely disregarding that Senator Sanders is still in the running.

This sends a falsified message to the American people because the race within the Democratic Party is not over, and neither is it on the Republican side. Many people misleadingly believe that Clinton is the frontrunner by a long shot for Democratic Presidential nomination because of the super delegates. Currently, the super delegates have not locked in their support to neither Sanders nor Clinton.

superdelegates

Google places the number of delegates and super delegates alike above the bar for each candidate. This leads to confusion amongst the public due to the fact that Clinton simply is not leading by over 600 delegates. The light blue portions of the bar represents the pledged delegates, and looking at only those, it is evident to see that Clinton and Sanders both have a similar number of delegates.

A super delegate is an unelected delegate, within the Democratic Party, who has the opportunity to vote for whichever candidate he or she so chooses, regardless of voter preference. The Republican Party also technically has super delegates, however they are required to vote for their respective state’s popular vote winner. Super delegates are crucial in the Democratic Party because they have the ability to swing the results, leading to a nomination of a candidate who did not win the popular vote.

It is important to remember that whoever wins the nomination becomes the face of the party. This nominee represents the party as a whole and therefore affects the non-presidential elections as well. That said, the super delegates are leaders within the party itself and they have an idea of who will showcase the party best. They do not intend to completely disregard the popular vote, they simply have more experience that would lead to them voting for a different candidate.

Super delegates have the power to nominate a candidate who did not win the popular vote; however, that does not have to be the case. Often times, super delegates do end up voting for the candidate who receives the popular vote, just like President Obama’s election against Clinton in 2008. Then again, Clinton had a bare minimum majority of super delegates on her side in ’08 whereas Senator Sanders trails significantly as far as super delegates are concerned.

The past elections have shown that super delegates do move from one candidate to another as the election progresses. Super delegates take various matters into account when locking in their final vote in July. For one, they consider which Democratic candidate is more likely to beat the Republican frontrunner.

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Real Clear Politics has averaged the results from various polls from all over the country showing projected wins amongst a wide spread range of scenarios. In the scenarios in which Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Real Clear Politics projects that she will lose against Rubio, Kasich, and Cruz; therefore only beating Trump. Senator Sanders, on the other hand, is projected to win against every single Republican candidate if he wins the nomination.

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